It’s mid-summer as I write these words, but it’s not too early for search engine optimization for the holiday season. In fact, not only is it not too early, it’s the perfect time to plan ahead for holiday SEO! Search engines take time to index the changes on a site, particularly if it is not updated regularly. Start now to get your changes noticed in time for your site to rank well for a future event.

List your keywords

Develop a list of holiday- or event-related keywords and put them into action on your site. It’s best if each page on your site has just one focus keyword. If you feel it’s too early to be promoting Christmas, tell your customers what’s “coming soon” in the form of holiday gift guides, for instance.

Add fresh landing pages

Create and optimize a new page on your site for the future event you know you are going to be promoting. For instance, holiday shopping or a conference you’re speaking at. Fill that page with products appropriate for holiday gifts or information about the upcoming event. Include an appropriate key term, such as “local holiday gifts,” “Christmas sale” or “Business consulting conference” in the page title and text.

Optimize your landing pages for keywords that relate to shopping and gift giving such as Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Free Shipping, Free Delivery or Top Technology Gifts. Use your city name as well.

Plan to keep working at it.

Keep in mind that SEO is a task that is never 100% complete. Search engines rank sites higher when they are updated regularly, because they prioritize sites with new information. Consider making ongoing changes to plan ahead for holiday SEO or other future events that are on your marketing calendar on a regular basis and not just once a year at holiday time. SEO works best if it gets periodic attention over time. One good approach is to analyze where you on in your search results before you start making changes, then track the results over time.

A 45-day rule in web publishing indicates that if you plan ahead for holiday SEO 45 days in advance of an event you want to promote, the search engines will have noticed that change on your site.